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UK sanctions heads of penal colony where Navalny died

The heads of the Arctic penal colony where Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was “detained and killed” will be banned from the UK and see their assets frozen under new sanctions announced by UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

Britain is the first country to impose measures in response to the politician’s death, which has been widely blamed on the Kremlin by western countries, the UK government said.

Vadim Konstantinovich Kalinin, who allegedly oversaw the brutal prison camp where Mr Navalny was kept in solitary confinement for up to two weeks at a time, is among those sanctioned, according to a statement from the department.

Five others have also been targeted for “activity that violates the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right to life”, the UK government said.

They are:
– Lieutenant Colonel Sergey Nikolaevich Korzhov
– Lieutenant Colonel Vasily Alexandrovich Vydrin
– Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Ivanovich Pilipchik
– Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Vladimirovich Golyakov
– Colonel Aleksandr Valerievich Obraztsov

Mr Cameron said: “It’s clear that the Russian authorities saw Navalny as a threat and they tried repeatedly to silence him.

“FSB operatives poisoned him with Novichok in 2020, they imprisoned him for peaceful political activities, and they sent him to an Arctic penal colony.

“No one should doubt the oppressive nature of the Russian system.

“That’s why we’re today sanctioning the most senior prison officials responsible for his custody in the penal colony where he spent his final months.

“Those responsible for Navalny’s brutal treatment should be under no illusion – we will hold them accountable.”

Read more:
Ambassador summoned as Martin says Russian state behind Navalny death
‘Brave’ Navalny should not have returned to Russia – Trump
Russia to keep Navalny’s body for ‘at least two weeks’, his team says

Mr Cameron had vowed action on the matter on Saturday, while London summoned the Russian ambassador to make clear it held Russian authorities “fully responsible” for Navalny’s death.

Russia, which has denied involvement in the death of the 47-year-old former lawyer, said on Saturday that it was unacceptable for Britain to interfere in its internal affairs.

The European Union also moved closer this week to imposing new sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine, as Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya said Vladimir Putin must be held accountable.

Germany, Lithuania and Sweden were among EU countries calling for specific new penalties against Russia over Navalny’s death.

The United States, too, will announce a major package of sanctions against Russia on Friday over Navalny’s death and the two-year Ukraine war, President Joe Biden said yesterday.

Britain has imposed sanctions on more than 1,700 people and entities under its Russia sanctions regime since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the government said.

EU members approved a 13th package of Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia today, banning nearly 200 entities and individuals accused of helping Moscow procure weapons or of involvement in kidnapping Ukrainian children.

Additional reporting Reuters

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